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THE FRENCH HAKLUYT; MARC LESCARBOT OF
The role played by France in American discovery and coloni-
zation during the course of the sixteenth century was by no
means such a minor and unimportant one as is generally supposed.
Apart from the fact that her privateers long preceded the English
of Elizabeth's day in their attacks on Spanish commerce — even
Columbus dreaded a brush with these French rovers — vessels under
the command of such men as de Gonneville, Verrazano, the Par-
mentiers, Jacques Cartier, Jean Alfonse, Villegagnon, Ribaut, Lau-
donniere and the Marquis de la Roche made the fleur-de-lis known
and respected along the whole Atlantic coast from Labrador as far
south as Brazil. True it is, that Frenchmen did not go much
further afield in these parts. No French vessel entered the Pacific
through the straits of Magellan nor is there any record of an at-
tempt on the part of a Frenchman to solve the mystery of a North-
west Passage. The colonies sent out at this time to America by
France also proved unsuccessful ; but so did those which came from
England. Indeed at the close of the century, France was the only
power outside Spain and Portugal which had a foothold in America. 1
Comparing the whole careers of France and England in America
in the sixteenth century that of France was indeed the more brilliant
during the first half of that century. Then took place the voyages
of de Gonneville and Denis to Brazil, those of the Parmentiers to
the same region as well as to Cape Breton and Newfoundland, that
of Verrazano along the whole coast from South Carolina northward
as far as Cape Breton ; while the exploration of the Gulf of St.
Lawrence and the discovery of the river of that name by Jacques
Cartier during the years 1534 to 1536 added fresh and ever-green
laurels to the French name. Unfortunately the attempts made by
Cartier and Roberval in 1541 and 1542 to find the mysterious king-
dom of Saguenay, said to be rich in gold and precious stones, met
with no success — for the simple reason that no such country existed.
1 This was represented by the poor wretches left by de la Roche on Sable Island and
who were not taken off till 1603. Cf. Gosselin, Nouvelles Gl&nes Historiques Norman-
des, Rouen, 1873, pp. 10 et stq.
672 H. P. Big gar
During the same period, French privateers were continually en-
gaged in preying upon the Spanish colonies and Spanish shipping.
So early as 1498 indeed Columbus had been obliged to divert the
course of his third voyage in order to avoid a French fleet ; 1 and
in the year 1 5 1 3 two caravels were sent out to guard the coasts of
Cuba. 2 Ten years later the rich fleet from Mexico was waylaid
near Cape St. Vincent by six French rovers who carried off two
caravels loaded with gold. 3 In the year 1528a French corsair
burned the town of San German in Porto Rico, 4 while during the
years 1536 and 1537 a perfect reign of terror existed among the
islands on account of the ravages of a fleet of these buccaneers. 5
Early in the year 1538, Havana was burned and destroyed. 6 Dur-
ing the war with Spain from 1542 to 1544 these islands proved a
happy hunting-ground for many a French rover and so pleased were
they as a rule with the success of their visits that they continued to
return, even after peace had been declared. 7
The list of English voyages and discoveries during the first half
of the sixteenth century is on the other hand a very meagre one.
About the year 1 507 Sebastian Cabot seems to have made an at-
tempt to find a northwest passage 8 and twenty years later an English
vessel, which had lost her consort in a storm near Newfoundland,
made her way along the coast southward as far as the island of
Porto Rico. 9 Beyond an unimportant expedition to Newfoundland
in 1536, there 10 is nothing further to record except a few trading
voyages to Brazil. 11 The only English privateer, of which we have
any notice at this time, is one that visited the West Indies in the
year 1 540 under a French pilot. 12
' F. Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viages y Descubrimientos, etc., Madrid, 1825, I.
2 45 ! " y navegue a la Isla de la Madera por camino no acostumbrado, por evilar es-
candalo que pudiera tener con un armada de Francia."
2 Coleccion de Documentor Iniditos de Indias, second series, VI. 3, No. 281 and
3 Archivo General de Indias at Seville, est. 2, cajon 5, leg. j'j, fols. 1-2. An English
translation of this document will be found in Murphy, The Voyage of Verrazzano, New
York, 1875, Appendix No. IV., pp. 164-165.
4 Coleccion de Documentos Iniditos de Indias, first series, XL. 564.
s Ibid., second series, IV. 425-426; VI. 22-31.
6 Ibid., second series, VI. 34-35, 73.
''Ibid., second series, IV. 197, Nos. 407^408 and pp. 199 and 240; VI. 256,
297-298 and 302. Archivo General de Indias, Seville, est. 2, caj. 5, leg. ?\, fols. 14-
15, and 17-23.
8 The Geographical Journal, London, February 1899, pp. 204-209.
9 Hakluyt, Principall Navigations, London, 1600, III. 129. Purchas, His Pilgrimes,
London, 1625, III. 809. Colec. de Doc. Inid., first series, XXXVII. 456-458; XL.
305-354, and second series, IV. 57-60.
10 Hakluyt, op. cit., pp. 129-131.
11 Ibid., pp. 700-701.
» 2 Col. de Doc. Inid., first series, I. 572 and 575.
Marc Lescarbot 673
In the second half of the century, however, matters were com-
pletely altered. France, weakened by constant religious and civil
wars, had no force to waste in foreign adventure ; on the other hand
England, blessed, especially during Elizabeth's reign, with domestic
peace and growing prosperity, seemed to awaken to new life ; and
expeditions were despatched in unremitting succession to almost all
the four corners of the globe. At the close of the century not only
could a writer say that " many valiant attempts had been made in
searching al-most all the corners of the vaste and new world of
America," but two separate expeditions had also gone around the
world in the short interval of eleven years. The exploits, however,
of Drake and Cavendish in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, of
Frobisher and Davis in the northern seas, of Raleigh and Gilbert
in Virginia and Newfoundland, of the Hawkinses in the Spanish
Main, of Oxenham, Barker, Fenton and the Earl of Cumberland
against Spanish commerce in general, are too well known to need
Opposed to the wonderful exploits of these men, such achieve-
ments as those of Villegagnon in Brazil, of Ribaut, Laudonniere
and Gourgues in Florida, of Strozzi and de Chaste in the Azores
and of de la Roche and Chefdostel at Sable Island, seem extremely
moderate ones. Fortunately they do not represent all that was
done by Frenchmen in America at this time. It is to be sure a
most strange fact that no French writer yet discovered has anything
to say of the exploits of his countrymen at this time in the West
Indies. When one considers how great a portion of Hakluyt's col-
lection is filled with minute accounts of the doings of the English
rovers then famous, one recognizes what the loss of these French
narratives means to the fame of the French seamen of that day.
The French, however, might reply that like the Spartans of old
they were too busy performing brave deeds, to find the time to de-
scribe them ; for in Spanish sources we now and again get glimpses
of their doings. Thus in July 1553 the town of Santiago was
taken and only given up when a large ransom had been paid. 1 In
the following year, in which eight different French vessels touched
at Porto Rico alone, 2 these rovers so lorded it over this whole re-
gion that the governors thereof complained to the Emperor Charles
the Fifth that the French were as complete masters of those seas, as
the Emperor himself of the River Guadalquivir in Spain. 3 In the year
1555 Havana was destroyed for the second time in seventeen years ;
l Colec. de Doc. Inld. de Ind., second series, VI. 360, Nos. 492 and 494, p. 428,
and pp. 434-443-
2 Hid , pp. 427-428.
3 Hid., p. 360, No. 492.
674 H. P. Biggar
and in the same year three other towns met with a similar fate. 1
The riches collected were no doubt great, for the poor colonists
complained that the French now seemed to look upon those islands
as all their own. 2
It is notices of this sort which make us deplore the absence of
such full accounts of these expeditions as Hakluyt has preserved
for us of the doings of Hawkins and Drake. Had there then
existed in France some one willing to make a journey, not of two
hundred miles, but even of ten, " onely to learne the whole trueth
from the onely man then alive that was in this (or that) disco verie," 3
France's record before the tribunal of history for achievements in
America during the latter half of the sixteenth century would be
far more brilliant than it is. The accounts even of such voyages as
those of Cartier and Roberval to the St. Lawrence in 1541 and
1542 are known to us only through Hakluyt, for the single French-
man who shortly afterwards did try to make a collection of early
French voyages to America could then find absolutely nothing
about them in that language.
This man, who represents in France the position occupied by
Hakluyt in the history of English geography, was Marc Lescarbot
of Vervins. It was however only chance which took Lescarbot
to America and only the inducement of his friends caused him to
write about his voyage. When engaged in this, it occurred to him
that " since loose papers are soon lost," it would be well " to add
in a brief form to the account of the voyage of de Monts and de
Poutrincourt, that which had been written about the earlier French
discoveries." 4 Instead however of interviewing the living survivors
of such expeditions as that to Florida or to Sable Island, he con-
tented himself with merely reading at the King's Library anything
he found in print on those subjects. He seems to have once met
a connection of Roberval's but the oral information vouchsafed by
this namesake of the first viceroy of Canada is of little or no im-
portance. 5 Although on the other hand he has the advantage
1 Colec. de Doc. Inid. de Ind., first series, XII. 49-82 ; second series, VI. 360-427
and p. 436.
2 Ibid., second series, VI. 437, " Que tienen los franceses por tan propinquas y por
suyas estas yslas y Tierra Firme mas que a Francia," etc.
a Hakluyt, op. cit., III. 131, "As hee [Thomas Buts] told me Richard Hakluyt of
Oxford himselfe, to whom I rode 200 miles onely to learne the whole trueth of this voy-
age [to Newfoundland] from his own mouth, as being the onely man now alive that was
in this discoverie."
* M. Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Paris, 1866, I. 4-5, " Etd'autant
que tant de Memoires disperses se perdent facilement. . . . Ainsi m'a semble a propos
de joindre brievement, et comme par epitome a la description des derniers voyages faits
par les Sieurs de Monts et de Poutrincourt . . . ce que noz Francois ont laisse par ecrit
des decouvertes qu'ils ont des long temps fait es parties Occidentales," etc.
5 Ibid., edition of 1609, p. 433.
Marc Lescarbot 675
over Hakluyt of having visited America and of having left us a
most entertaining account of the manners and customs of the
Indians near the Bay of Fundy, yet he would have merited a still
larger share of our gratitude had he given us, as his English con-
temporary has done, long, original and interesting accounts of the
voyages made to America before and during his own time.
Marc Lescarbot was born at Vervins near Laon of a good family
sometime between the years 1 560 and 1 570. 1 The exact date of his
birth is not known. After receiving a good education, he took up the
study of law, but he had not yet been called to the bar when in 1 598
he pronounced in his native town before the papal legate an oration of
thanksgiving on the conclusion of peace with Spain. 2 In the follow-
ing year he published a translation of a Latin work by Cardinal
Baronius on the origin of the Russians. 3 From the title-page of
this we see that he was called to the bar in that year. Among his
first briefs seem to have been several in which Jean de Biencourt
Seigneur de Poutrincourt was interested.
The family of Biencourt was descended from a certain Andre de
Biencourt who was prior of Biencourt in 1 142. Many of its mem-
bers had held offices of importance in Picardy, and Florimond de
Biencourt, the father of Lescarbot's friend, had been a gentleman of
the household of Francis I. Under Henry II. he held the office of
governor of the duchy of Aumale and in 1 549 was sent as ambas-
sador to the Emperor Charles V. to marry Anne, daughter of Her-
cules of Este, by procuration for the son of the Duke of Guise. By
his wife Jeanne de Salazar Florimond had nine children, four boys
and five girls. The eldest boy, a page to Henry II., was never
heard of after the battle of Dreux, and Charles, the third son, was
killed at the battle of Moncontour in 1 569. Jacques the second son
inherited the title, while Jean the fourth son became famous as the
colonizer of New France. 4 Jean, who had received in 1565 the
seigneurie of Marsilly-sur-Seine, served as squire to the Duke
d' Aumale. He also enjoyed the confidence of Henry IV., who ap-
1 Ibid., p. 180, " Vervin en Tierache lieu de ma naissance," etc. Cf. Demarsy,
Notes sur Marc Lescarbot, Avocat Vervinois, Vervins, 1868, passim.
% Ibid., p. 801, "A Vervin, lieu de ma naissance ou je fis. . . . deux actions de
grace en forme de Panegyrique a Monseigneur le Legat Alexandre de Medicis Cardinal
de Florence depuis Pape Leon XI. , imprimees a Paris." Copies of this oration in Latin
and in French are preserved at the Bibliotheque Nationale, nos. L. b. 35, 732 and 733.
3 Discours sur I' Origine des Russiens et de leur miraculeuse Conversion et de quelques
actes mimorables de leurs Rots ; en outre comme tar laps de terns ih ont quitti la veri/i
connue et maintenant une grande partie cTiceux se son! rangezd la communion du S.
Siege Apostolic, traduit en francois du Latin du Cardinal Cesar Baronius par Marc Les-
carbot Advocat, Paris, 1599.
♦De la Chenaye-Desbois et Badier, Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, Paris, 1864, III.
193 et seqq.
676 H. P. Big gar
pointed him Chevalier of the King's order and maitre de camp of an
infantry regiment. 1 In the year 1604 he set sail with de Monts in
the hope of finding in New France a suitable spot to which he might
retire with his family. His choice fell upon Port Royal in Acadia
and this de Monts at once made over to him. 2
During de Poutrincourt's absence Lescarbot was given charge
of his affairs. These seem to have kept him busy until de Poutrin-
court's return in the autumn of 1604 when " those," he says, "who
had attacked him savagely during his absence at once became silent
and gracious." s During the year 1605 Lescarbot doubtless con-
tinued his practice at Paris, for it was from there that he set forth
with de Poutrincourt in the spring of 1 606 to embark at La Rochelle
for New France. De Poutrincourt was going out, at some sacrifice
to himself, to take charge of the colony in the absence of de Monts,
while Lescarbot's excuse was his desire " to examine the land with
his own eye and to flee a corrupt world." It appears that some
disfavors received in court had given his mind for the moment a
pessimistic turn. 4
Embarking on the Jonas at La Rochelle in May they did not
reach Port Royal till the end of July. 5 On July 30, 1607, Lescar-
bot left Port Royal on his return to France so that he passed just
twelve months in the country. 6 He saw however very little of it
except the region about Port Royal and the coast from there to
Canso. The only other points visited were the river St. John and
the island of Ste. Croix in the Bay of Fundy. 7 Although he left
1 De la Chennye-Desbois et Badier, p. 203.
2 Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Paris, 1609, p. 473. " Le sieur de
Poutrincourt estoit desireux des y avoit long temps de voir ces terres de la Nouvelle
France et y choisir quelque lieu propre pour s'y retirer avec sa faroille ;" also p. 481,
*' Le sieur de Poutrincourt ayant trouve ce lieu (Port Royal) a son gre, il le demanda
avec les terres et continentes au sieur de Monts . . . ce qui luy fut octroye." For
proof of his name, cf. p. 572 : " Tant a cause de la fete sainct Jean, que pour l'amour du
Sieur de Poutrincourt, qui porte le nom de ce Sainct ;" and the signature on p. 659.
3 Ibid. , p. 542. " Quoi qu'a son premier voyage il eust eprouve la malice de certains
qui le poursuivoient rigoureusement absent et devindrent soupples et muets a son retour. ' '
* Ibid., 542-543. " Et ayant eu l'honneur de le [Poutrincourt] conoitre quelques
annees auparavant, il me demanda si ie voulais estre de la partie. A quoy ie demanday
un jour de terme pour luy repondre. Apres avoir bien consulte en moy-meme, desireux
non tant de voir le pais . . . que de reconoitre la terre oculairement, a laquelle j ' avoy
ma volonte portee, et fuir un monde corrompu, je luy donnay parole ; estant meme induit
par l'injustice que m'avoient peu auparavant fait certains Juges Presidiaux," etc.
5 Ibid., p. 558. " Le Samedi . . . trezieme de May, nous levames les ancres et
times voiles," etc. ; p. 581, " Le Jeudi vingt-septieme de Juillet nous entrames dedans
[Port Royal] avec le flot," etc.
6 Ibid., p. 643. " Et le 30 de Juillet partirent les deux autres. J'estois dans la
''Ibid., p. 637. " Et pource que Chevalier desiroit amasser quelques Castores; il
l'envoya dans une petite barque a la riviere Sainct- Jean . . . et Vile Saincte-Croix
Marc Lescarbot 677
Port Royal for Canso at the end of July, the vessel in which the
colonists returned to France (it was again the Jonas) did not leave
Canso till her cargo of fish was complete, which was early in Sep-
On his return to France in the autumn of 1607, Lescarbot again
resumed his practice at Paris, and it was not until the Easter law
vacation of the year 1608 that his thoughts were turned to the pro-
duction of a work on New France. At the instance of his friends, he
was soon persuaded to set to work upon a history of French efforts
to establish a foothold in the New World. His plan was, after briefly
reviewing the early voyages of Verrazano, Carrier, Villegagnon and
Laudonniere from books found in the King's Library, to give an
original account of the attempt at colonization recently made by
de Monts, and in which he himself had taken part. 2 The work,
which was finished at the end of November, 3 was published in the
following year under the title of Histoire de la Nouvelle France con-
tenant les navigations, decouvertes, et habitations faites par les Fran-
cois es Indes Occidentales et Nouvelle France souz I'avceu et authorite
de noz Rois Tres- Chretiens et les diverses fortunes d'iceux en I' execu-
tion de ces choses depuis cent ans jusques a hui.
The work is divided into three books. In the first are described
the voyages of Verrazano, Villegagnon, Ribaut, Laudonniere and
Gourgues. The accounts of the expeditions of Cartier, Roberval,
de la Roche and de Monts occupy the second book, while in the
. . . Je fus du voyage," etc. Cf. also pp. 752 and 822. A letter dated at Port
Royal August 22, 1606, and written in all probability by Lescarbot, is preserved in the
Archives of the French Foreign Office (Amerique, I. 25 and 26). It was published by
M. Gabriel Marcel in the Revue de Geographie for January 1885. In 1613 Champlain
( CEuvres published by Laverdiere, III. 123) mentioned that Lescarbot had never been
beyond Ste. Croix and four years later Lescarbot replied (edition of 1617, p. 594) that
he had never pretended the contrary.
1 Ibid., p. 649. " Le troisieme jour de Septembre nous levames les ancres," etc.
Cf. also p. 716.
2 Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Paris 1609, p. 5. " Ainsi m'a semble a propos
de joindre brievement et comme par epitome a la description des derniers voyages faits
par les sieurs de Monts et de Poutrincourt en la Nouvelle France, ce que noz Francois
ont laisse par ecrit des decouvertes qu'ils ont des long temps fait es parties Occidentales,"
and again p. 6, " Je veux done faire un recueil general de ce que i'ay leu en divers petits
traitez et memoires que i'ay pris tant en la Bibliotheque du Roy qu'ailleurs ; ensemble de
ce que le sieur De Monts ... a fait et exploite au voyage qu'il y fit il y a cinq ans ; et
finalement ceque i'y ay veu et remarque, en l'espace de deux etes et un hiver que nous
avons este en ladite province . . . tant pour contenter l'honnete desir de plusieurs qui des
long temps requierent cela de moy, que pour employer utilement les heures que ie puis
avoir de loisir durant ce temps qu'on appelle des Vacations." He added in 1617 " des
Vacations en Pan 1608." Cf. also p. 663.
'The privilege to print is dated November 27, 1608. Cf. also p. 526, " I' an der-
nier mil six cens sept ;" and p. 624, " le dernier hiver de l'an mil six cens sept et
huit ; " also p. 652.
678 H. P. Biggar
third and last he gives a description of the manners and customs of
the savages of the New World. l
After stating what he proposed to do in Chapter I. and prov-
ing to his satisfaction in Chapters II. and III. that the Gauls, being
descended from Noah, had always been great navigators, 2 and that
they or other Europeans were the ancestors of the American In-
dians, he begins his account of the French expeditions to the New
World in Chapter IV. with that of Verrazano. He does not go
into this very fully however but contents himself with merely
copying the account given by Belleforest. 3 He appears however
to have seen Ramusio, for he gives the same account of Verrazano's
death as that given by the latter. *
His account df the expeditions of Ribaut, Laudonniere and
Gourgues which occupies Chapters V. to XX. is taken from a work
published at Paris in the year 1 586 under the title of L'Histoire
Notable de la Floride situee es Indes Occidentales contenant les trots
voyages faits en icelle par certains Capitaines et PUotesfrancois, de-
scrits par le Capitaine Laudonniere, qui y a commande Vespace d'un
an trois tnoys; a laquelle a este adjouste un quatriesme voyage fait par
le Capitaine Gourgues. This work had been published by the efforts
of a French mathematician named Basanier and of the English col-
lector of voyages Hakluyt. 5 It is strange however that no one has
hitherto pointed out that the " tomb " in which the manuscript had
been lying was Thevet's, the Cordelier's, cell. 6 Lescarbot, who
1 Ibid., p. 25. " Ce que je feray, Dieu aydant, en trois livres, au premier desquels
sera decrit ce qui avoisine les deux Tropiques, au deuxieme ce qui est depuis le quaran-
tieme degre jusques au cinquantieme et au troisieme les moeurs, facons et coutumes des
peuples desquels nous avons a parler."
2 In proof of this Lescarbot cites the '* ^Equivoques" of Xenophon. No such
work ever existed. He drew his information from a volume of forged fragments pub-
lished by Annius of Viterbo (Giovanni Nanni) at the close of the fifteenth century. In
the edition printed by Ascensius at Paris in 1512 under the title of Antiquitatum Vario-
rum volumina XVII. , the De Aequivocis occupies folios xxxiv to xli. The passage
here referred to will be found on folio xxxvi verso while the accompanying commentary
is on folios xxxvii and xxxviii.
3 ffistoire, 1609, p. 27. "Duquel je representeray leS cboses principales sans
m'arreter a suivre le fil de son discours." Belleforest, Cosmograpkie Universtlle, Paris,
II. 2175-2178. This was a translation of Minister's work with additions.
'■Ibid., p. 36. " Quelqu'un dit qu'estant parvenu au Cap Breton il fut pris et de-
vore par des Sauvages." In truth Ramusio does not say where his death took place,
but only that it was on a subsequent voyage : "et nelP ultimo viaggio, che esto fece
havendo voluto smontar in terra con alcuni compagni, furono tutti morti da quei popol
et in presentia di coloro, che erano rimasi nelle navi, furono arrostiti et mangiati."
Navigationi et Viaggi, Venice, 1556, III. fol. 417 verso.
5 " Mise en lumiere par M. Basanier, Gentil-homme francois Mathematicien." Cf.
also the dedication to Ralegh. " Je l'ay tiree avec la diligence de Monsieur Hakluit,
homme certainement bien verse en l'histoire geographique . . . comme du tombeau, ou
elle avoit ja si.longtemps inutille repose," etc.
6 Bibliotheque Nationale MS. Fr. 15453, fol. 177 verso. " J'ay asses amplement
Marc Lescarbot 679
does not mention the work by name, 1 does not give the narrative in
full, but while reproducing most of the details and some of the
speeches usually contents himself with merely summarizing it. 2
He intersperses the narrative however with reflections of his own 3
and in proof of his remarks cites Las Casas at some length on the
cruelties inflicted by the Spaniards on the natives in Cuba.* He
also mentions the work of Acosta. 6
In the remaining chapters of Book I. (numbers XXI.-XXX.)
Lescarbot describes the attempt made by Villegagnon to form a
settlement in Brazil. He had intended at first simply to give a
resume of the work published by de Lery who did not go out till
1556, but when the first part of his book was already in the prin-
ter's hands, fresh material was given him by one of his friends which
enabled him to give details of the first voyage made in 1555. 6 He
was thus able to publish two letters written from Brazil by Nicolas
Barre and printed at Paris in 1557. 7 He gives only the second
letter in full however and reserves that part of the first in which are
described the country and the natives for his third book, on the
discouru l'histoire des Francois occis a la Floride. . . . II en y aune petite histoire im-
primee l'annee passee laquelle fidelement i'avois preste sur bonne foy a un certain
Anglois nomme Richard Hakluit, escrite a la main, lequel 1' ayant communiquee a un
jeune homme Parisien nomme M. Basanier, me la tindirent quatre mois ou environ, au
bout duquel temps le firent imprimer a Paris. J' ay icy a me condoloir avec mes amis
contre ces plagiaires et imposteurs. . . . Ayant commis . . . telle vilainie en mon
endroit tous deux m'apporterent l'un des livres qu'ils firent imprimer pensans me grati-
fier avec ma copie bien escrite, lequel livre ils dedirent a un Chevalier Milort d' Angleterre
nomme Walter Ralegh," etc. Cf. also MS. Fr. 15454, fol. 148.
1 Histoire, etc., p. 39. " Que l'historien de ce voyage appelle Roy," etc.
2 Ibia., p. 62. " Je ne vaux m'arreter a toutes les particularites de ce qui s'est
passe en ce voyage, craignant d'ennuyer le lecteur en la trop grande curiosite mais seule-
ment aux choses plus generales et plus digne d'estre sceues." Cf. p. 45.
3 Ibid., p. 51. " En quoy ie conjecture que des le mois de Janvier ilz m'avoient
plus rien." Cf. pp. 58, 104, 126.
i Ibid., p. 121. "Je m'en rapporte a ce qu'en a ecrit Dom. Barthelemi de las
Casas," etc. Cf. also pp. 122 et seqq. " Cet autheur nous a laisse un Recueil ou
abbrege intitule Destruction des Indes par Les Hespagnols," etc.
5 Ibid.,p. 127. " Je les r' envoye a un autre quia decrit l'histoire naturele et morale
des Indes tant Orientales qu' Occidentales, Joseph Acosta lequel," etc. Cf. also p. 173.
6 Ibid., p. 147. "Le Roy ... fit donner a Villegagnon deux beaux navires
. . . pour faire son voyage. Duquel i'avois omis les particularitez pour n'en avoir sceu
recouvrer les memoires, mais sur le poinct que 1' Imprimeur achevoit ce qui est de la
Floride un de mes amis m'en a fourni de bien amples, lesquels en ce temps-la ont este
envoyez par deca de la France Antarctique par un des gens dudit sieur de Villegagnon."
7 Copie de quelques Lettres sur la Navigation du Chevalier de Villegaignon es
terres de I'Amerique oultre V oequinoctial, iusques soubz le tropique de Capricorne ; con-
tenant sommairement les fortunes encourues en ce voyage avec les moeurs et /aeons de
vivre des Sauvages du p its ; envoyees par un des gens dudit seigneur, Pars, 1557. They
will also be found in Ternaux-Compans, Archives des Voyages, Paris, 1843, I. 102-116,
and in Gaffarel, Histoire du Brisil Francois au Seiziime Slide, Paris, 1878, pp. 373
680 H. P. Biggar
manners and customs of the savages. 1 Chapters XXIII. to XXX.,
describing the despatch of the Genevan Huguenots and the subse-
quent failure of the colony, are taken from the work published by
de Lery in 1578 and reprinted in 1580. 2 As in the case of Lau-
donniere's work however Lescarbot contents himself with relating
merely the principal events, at the same time keeping up a running
comment of his own. 3 In this connection he cites also the works of
Peter Martyr 4 and Andre Thevet. 5
Book II. describes the expeditions of Cartier, Roberval, de la
Roche and the voyage made by Champlain to the St. Lawrence in
the year 1603. Carder's first two voyages in 1534 and 1535 are
given in full. Lescarbot took his version of the first voyage from
the French translation of Ramusio published at Rouen in 1598. 6
He also printed some verses on the voyage to Canada which were
published with that edition. 7 In copying this account he for some
reason put the " first of August " for the " twenty-fourth of July "
and afterwards gave no more dates until the end of the voyage. 8
His account of Carrier's second voyage is taken from Manuscript
No. 5589 of the Bibliotheque Nationale, which he tells us was the
very original presented by Cartier to Francis the First. 9 He modern-
1 Histoire, etc., p. 156. " Quant a ce qui est des raoeurs et coutumes des Bresi-
liens et du rapport de la terre, nous recueillerons au dernier livre ce que l'autheur du
Memoire sus-ecrit en a dit."
2 Histoire d' tin Voyage faict en la Terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique con-
tenant la navigation et choses remarquables, vues sur mer par Vaucteur ; le comportement
de Villegagnon en ce pais Id, Us meurs et fa(ons de vivre estranges des sauvages ameri-
quains ; avec un colloque de leur langage, ensemble la description de plusieurs animaux,
Aeries et autres choses singulieres ; et du tout inconnues par deca ; dont on verra les
sommaires dans les chapitres au commencement du livre. Le tout recueilli sur les lieux par
Jean de Liry, natif de la Margelle, terre de Sainct-Sene, au duchi de Bourgogne, La
Rochelle, 1578. The edition published at Geneva in 1580 was reprinted by M.
Gaffarel at Paris in 1880.
3 Histoire, p. 165, "Quoy que je ne me veuille arreter a toutes les particularitez
qu'a ecrit Jean de Lery, autheur de l'histoire de ce voyage ; " and p. 170, "Jean de
Lery cherchant la raison de cela, presuppose, etc. Or ie ne puis bonnement m'y accor-
der," etc. Cf. also pp. 186, 202.
' Ibid., p. 167. " Suivant le rapport qu'en fait Pierre Martyr, celui qui a ecrit l'his-
toire des Indes Occidentales, lequel en parle en cette sorte," etc.
5 Ibid., p. 208. " Es chartes geographiques qu' Andre Thevet fit imprimer au retour
de ce pais la," etc.
6 Histoire, p. 231. " Ainsi i'ay laisse en leur entier les deux voyages dudit Capitaine
Jacques Quartier ; le premier desquels estoit imprime." This edition is entitled : Discours
du Voyage fait par le Capitaine Jaques Cartier aux Terresneufves de Canadas, Norem-
bergue, Hochelage, Labrador, et pays adiacens, dite nouvetle France, avec particulieres
masurs, langage, et ceremonies des habitans d'icelle, Rouen, 1598. It was reprinted by
M. Michelant at Paris in 1865.
7 Ibid., p. 232. " Au surplus ayant trouve en tete du premier voyage du Capitaine
Jacques Quartier quelques vers Francois, ie n'en ay voulu fruster l'autheur, duquel i'eusse
mis le nom s'il se fust donne a connoitre."
% Ibid., pp. 278 et seqq. Michelant' s edition, pp. 56 et seqq. Cf. p. 285.
9 Ibid., p. 231. " Mais le second ie Pay pris sur l'original presente au Roy ecrit
Marc Lescarbot 68 1
izes the spelling, however, and also suppressed some of the dedica-
tion which seemed to him too bigoted. 1 Moreover, he does not give
this relation continuously but breaks it up into sections between which
he inserts portions of Champlain's account of his voyage to the St.
Lawrence in the year 1603. 2 Thus before beginning Cartier's rela-
tion he gives a summary of Champlain's voyage as far as the island
of Anticosti. He then gives the dedication of Cartier's relation and
the account of his voyage until he reached Tadoussac. " Let us
now," he continues, " leave Captain Cartier with the savages at
Tadoussac while we go and meet Champlain whom we left at Anti-
costi." 3 After giving Champlain's account of his voyage from
Anticosti to Tadoussac he again takes up Cartier, whom he follows
up the river to Stadacona and Ste. Croix. 4 After bringing Cham-
plain to the same spot, 5 he takes them each in turn to the rapids of
Lachine and back again. His reason for bringing out in such con-
trast these two voyages, over the same ground, was because this
portion of Cartier's voyage had been forgotten and people were then
of the opinion that Champlain was the first who had gone as far as
the Rapids. Although Lescarbot does not wish to detract unneces-
sarily from Champlain's credit, who had himself been under the
same impression, 6 yet he wishes to see justice done to Cartier. 7 Be-
la main, couvert en satin bleu. ' ' Cf. Biggar, The Early Trading Companies of New
France, Toronto, 1 900, the appendix on Cartier's Voyages.
1 1bid., Au Lecteur, " Pour l'Orthographie i'ay suivi la plus simple qu'il m'estS pos-
sible rejettant a peu pres toutes lettres superflues." It seems strange therefore to speak
of Lescarbot' s version of Cartier's voyages.
2 Hid., p. 287. " Et d'autant que le voyage du sieur Champlein fait depuis six ans
est une meme chose avec cetui-ci, je les conjoindray ensemble tant qu'il me sera possible,
pour ne remplir inutilement le papier de vaines repetitions." This voyage is entitled Des
Sauvages ou Voyage de Samuel Champlain de Brouage,faict en la France Nouvelle Van
mil six cens trois, etc., Paris, n. d.
3 Ibid. , p. 304. ' ' Or maintenant laissons le Capitaine Jacques Quartier deviser avec
ses Sauvages au Port de la riviere de Saguenay, qui est Tadoussac, et allons au devant du
sieur Champlein, lequel nous avons ci dessus laissfi a Anticosti . . . car il nous decrira
•edit Port de Tadoussac," etc.
i Ibid., p. 325. "Laissons maintenant le sieur Champlein faire la Tabagie . . .
et discourir de la Theologie avec les Sagamos . . . et allons reprendre le Capitaine
Jacques Quartier lequel nous veut mener a-mont la riviere de Canada jusques a Saincte
5 Ibid., p. 341. " Or devant que ndtre Capitaine Jacques Quartier s'embarque pour
faire son voyage, allons querir le sieur Champlein, lequel nous avons laisse a Tadoussac
. . . Nous le lairrons en garnison a Saincte Croix, tandis que ledit Capitaine fera la
decouverte de la grande riviere jusques au Saut et a Hochelaga. "
6 Champlain indeed had made this statement in his Des Sauvages. Vid. CEuvres de
Champlain, II. 27. " Et une autre riviere du meme coste . . . qui est celle ou fut
Jacques Cartier au commencement de la decouverture qu'il en feit et ne passa point plus
outre." Palma Cayet added in 1605 "ni autre apres luy que en ce voyage." Chrono-
logic Septenaire, Paris, 1836, p. 453.
' Ibid., p. 346. "Ainsi des faits de plusieurs personnages, desquels lamemoire se
VOL. VI. 45.
682 H. P. Biggar
sides, each did not observe the same points so that to get the whole
truth one must hear all the witnesses. 1 After telling the story of
Carder's winter at Ste. Croix and of his return to France in the
spring of I S36, 2 he concludes this part of his work with the descrip-
tion given by Champlain of his voyage home in 1603. 3 The story
of the Gougou, however, excites his mirth rather than his credulity
and he also makes fun of Palma Cayet for printing it as valid. 4 In
Chapter XXIX., which is given up to personal observations on the
accounts of Cartier and of Champlain, he corrects some faults in Belle-
forest 5 and at the same time expresses his belief in that portion of
Carder's relation which describes the Kingdom of Saguenay, although
the facts sounded exceedingly strange. 6 He cites here the work of
Jean Alfonse 7 and also that of Wytfliet. 8
All Lescarbot's information about Roberval is taken from the
slight mention of that expedition in the letters patent granted to de
la Roche 9 and from what he gleaned in conversation with one of
Roberval's descendants. 10 He states erroneously, however, that
pert bien souvent avec les hommes et sont frustrez de la loiiange qui lew appartient. Et
pour n'aller chercher des exemples externes, le voyage de nStre Capitaine Jacques Quar-
tier depuis Saincte Croix jusques au Saut de la grande riviere, estoit inconeu en ce temps
ici . . . si bien que le sieur Champlein pensoit estre le premier qui en avoit gaigne le
pris. Mais il faut rendre a chacun ce qui lui appartient et suivant ce, dire que ledit
Champlein a ignore l'histoire du voyage dedit Jacques Quartier. Et neantmoins ne laisse
point d' estre loiiable en ce qu'il a fait. Mais je m' etonne que le sieur du Pont ... ait
ignore cela," etc. Cf. also pp. 365-366.
1 Histoire, p. 366. " Car En la bouche de deux ou trots temoins toute parole sera
resolue et arret ie. ' '
2 Ibid., p. 386. " Mais avant que ce faire, nous reciterons ce que ledit Capitaine
Quartier rapporte en general des merveilles du grand fleuve de Canada," etc.
3 Ibid., p. 415. " Ayans r'araene le Capitaine Jacques Quartier en France, il nous
faut retourner querir le sieur Champlain ... a fin qu' il nous dise quelques nouvelles de
ce qu'il aura veu et out parmi les Sauvages depuis que nous l'avons quitte."
* Ibid., p. 420. " Toutes lesquelles choses ledit Champlain a depuis reconu estre
fabuleuses ; " also p. 424, " Un scavant personnage . . . est encore en plus grand' faute,
ayant mis . . . tout le discours dudit Champlain sans nommer son autheur et ayant bailie
les fables . . . pour bonne monnoye." Cf. Palma Cayet, Chronologic Septenaire, Paris,
1836, pp. 450 et seqq.
5 Ibid., p. 425. " Lesquels ecrivent sansrien digerer : de quoy i' accuserois aucune-
ment le sieur de Belle-Forest n' estoit la reverence que porte a sa memoire." Cf. Miins-
ter, Cosmographie Universelle, translated by Belleforest, Paris, 1575, folio II. 2184 et seqq.
6 Ibid., p. 428. " Quelqu' un pourroit accuser . . . Quartier d'avoir fait des contes
de Pline, quand il dit . . . qu'es pais de Saguenay il y a des hommes accoutrez de draps
de laine," etc. But "Ces terres lane sont point si bien decouvertes qu' on puisse
scavoir tout ce qui y est. Pour le reste il a son autheur . . . lequel avoit couru des
grandes contrees toute sa vie," etc.
7 Ibid., p. 529.
8 Ibid., p. 526.
9 Ibid., p. 433. "Or par ladite Commission se reconoit que quatre ans apres
. . . Quartier le meme Roy Frangois premier donna pouvoir a Jean Francois de la
10 Ibid., p. 433. Ausquelles faits de guerres ce Roberval acquit tant de credit . . .
Marc Lescarbot 683
Roberval and his brother made a second expedition when the wars
at home were over, and that in this they both lost their lives. 1 He
could also find no account of the expedition of de la Roche, which
he places in the year 1 596, so contented himself with printing his
commission after the edition published at Rouen in 1598. 2
The remainder of Book II. (Chap. XXXI.-XLVIII.) gives the
history of de Monts's attempt to colonize Acadia. This, the only
original part of the work, is also the most important, for it supple-
ments in many places the account of the same given by Champ-
lain. 3 In Chapter XXXI. Lescarbot gives the commission of de
Monts after an edition published in Paris in 1605 and of which a
copy is preserved in the archives of the French Foreign Office. *
Chapters XXXII. to XXXVIII. tell the story of the departure of
the colonists from France, of the search for a suitable spot for set-
tlement, of the choice of the Island of Ste. Croix, of the winter
spent there and finally of the removal of the colony to Port Royal.
Since during this period Lescarbot was still in France he must have
received his information from some of those who took part in these
events. Among the chief of these was probably de Poutrincourt,
for we have a number of details of his voyage out 5 and back. 6
The events in the colony during the year 1605, when de Poutrin-
court was absent, were obtained doubtless from de Monts or from
one of his men. 7 It is possible indeed that Lescarbot even had at
his disposal a diary kept by some one on the voyage or otherwise
he would not have been able to give the exact dates of so many
events. 8 Chapters XXXIX. to XLVIII. contain an account of
que le Roy l'appelloit Le petit Roy de Vimeu, a ce que i'ay entendu du sieur De la
Roque a present Prevot de Vimeu, qui se dit de la parente dudit sieur de Roberval."
1 Ibid., p. 434: " Apres que les guerres eurent pris quelque interim par deca, ces
deux champions . . . equipperent quelque navire pour continuer 1' entreprise et sont en-
core a revenir. ' ' For a good life of Roberval see Abbe E. Morel, Jean Francois de la
Roque, Seigneur de Roberval, in the Bulletin de Giographie Historique et Descriptive,
Paris, 1892, pp. 273-296.
2 Ibid., p. 431. " De la Roche duquel nous n'avons point de memoire qu'il ait rien
fait, sinon d'avoir decharge quelques 40 hommes a Pile de Sable." Cf. also p. 18.
Michelant et Rame, Voyage de Cartier au Canada en /SS4> Paris, 1865, p. 3. " Ayant
ces iours passez imprime 1' Edict du Roy contenant le pouvoir et commission donnee par sa
Maieste au sieur Marquis de la Roche pour la conqueste des terres-neufves, de Norem-
bergue," etc. Lescarbot uses the same title. Cf. Histoire, p. 434.
3 Laverdiere, CEuvres de Champlain, Tome III., Chap. II-XI.
'Amerique, Vol. IV.
*Histoire, pp. 473-499.
6 Ibid. , pp. 499 et seqq. ' ' Par ainsi les navires estans prets a partir pour - le retour,
de Poutrim ourt se mit . . . dedans l'un d'iceux . . . Le voyage ne fut sans tour-
mente et grands perils. Car entre autres i'en reciteray deux ou trois," etc.
■'Ibid., pp. 503-505, 525, 530-532, 534-539-
8 Ibid., pp. 474, " le septieme jour de Mars ;" p. 475, " le sixieme de May ;" p.
476, " la dixieme de Mars ;" p. 486, " le vingt quatrieme Juin," etc.
684 H. P. Biggar
Lescarbot's own voyage to Port Royal, of his life there during the
winter of 1606- 1607 and of his return to France in the autumn
of the latter year. Here, where he is recounting events in which
he himself took part, Lescarbot is certainly at his best. His gaiety, *
his inquisitive mind, 2 his original way at looking at things, s all
come out clearly in these chapters of his work. He evidently
kept a diary of his own in order to be able to reproduce so faith-
fully the dates of the principal events. * After describing what
took place at Port Royal on their arrival and during the absence of
de Poutrincourt on a voyage of discovery when he himself was left
in charge of the colony, s he gives a short description of this voy-
age. 6 Champlain's account however is more complete for he
formed part of the company. T Lescarbot does not go into great
detail as to the events of the winter. 8 He has told us elsewhere
however that after the day's work was over, he himself used to re-
tire to his study where he wrote or read. He had brought with
him a small collection of books as well as his Bible out of which,
indeed, at de Poutrincourt's request, he preached to the company
every Sunday. 9 In thus replacing the regular priest who had died
before their arrival, 10 Lescarbot seems to have thumbed his Bible
1 Histoire, p. 563. " Nous ne laissions pourtant de rire la pluspart."
* Ibid., p. 556. "II me vint en memoire l'ancienne coutume des Chretiens, les-
quels allans en voyage portoient avec eux le sacre pain de l'Eucharistic . . . ie de-
manday si on nous voudrait faire de meme," etc.
3 Ibid., pp. 545 et seqa., where are printed his verses "Adieu a la France."
* Ibid., p. 545, "lelendemainde nOtre arrivee qui fat le troisieme jourd'avril ;" p.
558, "1'onzieme de May" and " le Samedi . . . trezieme de May;" p. 559, le
sezieme jour de May;" p. 565, "Depuis que nous eumes quitte ces Forbans, nous
fumes jusques au dix-huitieme de juin agitez de vents ;" p. 567, " Et le 21 dudit mois ;"
p. 569, " ce qui occasionna de jetter la sonde par un jeudi vingt deuxieme de Juin ;" p.
575, " Le quatrieme de Juillet noz matelots . . . apparceurent des le grand matin les
iles Sainct Pierre;" p. 584, " II arriva le Lundi dernier jourde Juillet et demeura
. . . au Port Royal jusques au vingt huitieme d'Aoust," etc.
5 Ibid., p. 590. " I'estois demeure, ayant este de ce prie pour avoir l'oe'l a la mai-
son et maintenir ce qui y restoit de gens en Concorde."
6 Ibid., pp. 589-617.
'Laverdiere, (Euvres de Champlain, Tome III., Chaps. XIII-XV.
8 Histoire, etc., pp. 618-619. " Ce seroit chose longue de vouloir minuter tout ce
qui se faisoit durant l'hiver."
9 Ibid., pp. 518-519. " Car chacun estant retire au soir, parmi les caquets, bruits et
tintamares, i'estois enclos en mon etude lisant ou ecrivant quelque chose. Memes ie ne
seray point honteux de dire qu' ayant este prie par le sieur de Poutrincourt nOtre chef de
donner quelques heures de mon industrie a enseigner Chretiennement ndtre petit peuple,
pour ne vivre en betes, et pour donner exemple de ndtre facon de vivre aux Sauvages, ie
l'ay fait .'. . par chacun Dimanche, et quelquefois extraordinairement preque tout le
temps que nous y avons este. Et bien me vint que i'avois porte ma Bible et quelques
livres, sans y penser : Car autrement celam'eust fort fatigue, et eust este cause que ie
m'en serois excuse."
10 I6id., p. 556. "N'y estant demeure qu'un Pretre en la demeure de la Nouvelle
France lequel on nous dit estre mort quand nous arrivames la. "
Marc Lescarbot 685
well, for in his history he cites it at very frequent intervals. * He
brings this portion of his histoiy to a close with an account of the
arrival of Chevalier, of the preparations for departure and of the
return voyage from Canso to St. Malo. 2 After a visit to Mont St.
Michel which he calls the " eighth wonder of the world," he and
de Poutrincourt embarked again at St. Malo in a small vessel for
Honfleur whence they made their way to Paris. 3
Of what took place in the Bay of Fundy in the summer of
1608, the year after his return, he was able to obtain informa-
tion from Champdore and others, 4 but since Champlain had
remained during the winter of 1608 and 1609 at Quebec, Lescar-
bot was unable to give an account of events in the St. Lawrence. 5
His account of Champdore' s return to Acadia is however a very
Book III. is given up entirely to a description of the manners
and customs of the Savages of the New World. 6 Since he had not
thought of publishing a work when he was in the country, 7 he had
to rely for his information on what he could recall from memory, on
his journal (if he really had one), and on what he found in other
writers. In the course of his remarks on the births, marriages,
deaths, wars, funerals, virtues and vices of the Indians he cites again
Laudonniere, 8 de Lery, 9 Carrier, 10 and Champlain u and also makes
1 Ibid., pp. 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 49, 198-199, 484, 519, 523, 537, 555, etc.
2 Ibid., pp. 629-650.
3 Ibid., p. 650. " Ayans demeure trois au quatre jours a Sainct Malo, nous allames
. . . au Mont Sainct Michel . . . Quant au batiment il merite d'estre appelle la
huitieme merveille du monde," etc.
4 Ibid., p. 652. "Lesdits navires estans de retour, nous avons eu rapport par le
sieurde Champdore et autresde l'etat du pais que nous avons laisse," etc.
5 Ibid., p. 654. " Le sieur Champlein est . . . en la grande riviere de Canada
. . . ou il s'est fortifie, ayant mene des menages avec du bestial, et diverses sortes
d'arbres fruitiers .... II n'est pas homme pour demeurer en repos, et attendons bientot
nouvelles de l'entiere decouverte de cette grande et nompareille riviere et des pals qu'elle
arrouse par la diligence dudit Champlein."
6 Ibid., p. 661. "II m'a semble necessaire de m'exercer en ce troisieme livre sur
ce sujet (lamanierede vivre) pour ce qui regarde les nations desquelles nous avons parle,"
7 Ibid., p. 663. "Lors que i'estois pardela ne pensant rien moins qu'a cette his-
toire ie n'ay pas pris garde a beaucoup de choses que i'auroy peu observer."
8 Hisioire, etc., p. 683. " Le Capitaine Laudonniere en son histoire de la Floride
dit," etc. Cf. also pp. 688, 724, 747, 757, 786, 796.
9 Ibid., p. 665. "Les Bresiliens a ce que dit Jean de Leri, lequel i'aymemieux
suivre en ce qu'il a veu qu'un Hespagnol," etc. Cf. also pp. 684, 685, 693, 747.
10 Ibid., pp. (fl$etseqq. " Jacques Quartier en sa deuxieme Relation rapporte ce
qui i'ay n'agueres dit en ces mots, qui ne sont pas couchez ci dessus au livre second," etc.
Cf. also pp. 744, 853.
11 Ibid., p. 674. "Le sieur Champlein . . . fait rapport," etc. Cf. also pp. 725,
686 H. P. Biggar
use of Belleforest, 1 Acosta, 2 Gomara, 3 Pigafetta * and Hariot. 5 His
method of procedure is as a rule to give the custom of the Greeks,
Romans, Hebrews, Gauls or Germans in the matter and then to
contrast with this that of the savages of the New World. He thus
makes use of a great number of classical writers among whom one
might cite Hesiod, Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Polybius
Strabo, Plutarch, Hippocrates, Heliodorus, Oppian, Athenaeus,
Pausanias, Theophrastus, Diodorus Siculus and Arrian as well as
Plautus, Caesar, Cicero, Livy, Virgil, Tacitus, Pliny, Aulus Gellius,
Claudian, Ammianus Marcellinus, Sidonius, Procopius and Josephus.
He seems also to be familiar with the early Christian fathers and
cites Tertullian, St. Augustine, St. Isidore and St. Jerome. Among
more modern writers he makes mention after Jean de Meung and
Joinville of Olaus Magnus, 6 Oribasius, 7 Annius of Viterbo, 8 Bus-
becq 9 and the Seigneur des Accords. 10
The small volume of verses entitled Les Muses de la Nouvelle
France which is generally found bound up with the history contains
nothing of very great interest. There is a Pindaric ode to King
Henry IV., an ode each to de Monts and de Poutrincourt ; while
Champdore is honored with a sonnet. The other verses were
written to celebrate special events ; as the departure of the vessel
1 Histoire, p. 683. " Et toutesfois le sieur de Belle-forest ecrit avoir pris de ladite
histoire ce qu'il met en avant," etc. Cf. also pp. 728, 849.
1 Ibid., p. 688. " Ainsi qu'en discourt amplement Joseph Acosta," etc. Cf. also
pp. 725, 813, 818, 836.
3 Ibid., p. 680. " L' Histoire generale des Indes Occidentales rapporte," etc. A
French translation of Gomara was published under this title at Paris by Martin Fumee in
1569 and reprinted in 1578, 1580 and 1584.
4 Ibid'., p. 715. " Lesquels Pighafatte en son Voyage autour du monde dit," etc.
This work which was published at Paris with no date is entitled Le Voyage et Naviga-
tion faict par ks Espaignoh es isles de Mollucques (de ijig a IJ22) : -Des isles quik ont
trouve audict voyage, des roys dicelles, de leur gouvernement et manierc de vivre avec
plusieurs aultres choses.
5 Ibid., p. 698. " Car l'autheur de l'histoire de la Virginie dit," etc. Cf. also pp.
729, 872. A French translation of Hariot's work appeared in 1590 in the first volume of
Bry's large collection of voyages.
6 Histoire, p. 508. " Et si on veut encore ouir le temoignage d' Olaus Magnus,"
etc. The work referred to is his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, Rome, 1555.
''Ibid., p. 761. "Car le vin . . . dit Oribasius," etc. Oribasii Collectaneorum
Artis Medicae liber, quo totius corporis humani sectio explicatur, Paris, 155°-
8 Ibid., p. 788. "Et l'a fort bien remarqu6 Jean Annius de Viterbe." He is
really citing his edition of Berosus which was published at Antwerp in 1552 under the
title of Berosi antiquitatum Italiae ac totius orbis libri V. commentarUs Joannis Annii
Viterbensis illustrati adjecto nunc primum indice locupletissimo et reKquis ejus argu-
9 Ibid., p. 775. " Ce qu' ecrit le sieur de Busbeque au discours de son ambassade
en Turquie." It is his Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum, published at
Antwerp in 1 58 1.
i° Ibid., p. 875. "Le sieur des Accords . . . recite," etc. The work is his Les
Touches published at Paris in 1585.
Marc Lescarbot 687
for home in August 1606, the return of de Poutrincourt from his voy-
age of discovery to the South in the autumn of that year and finally
Lescarbot's own departure from New France in the summer of
Upon its appearance Lescarbot's work at once met with a good
reception. It described interesting events and was written in an
agreeable manner. The author was not a pedant but on the con -
trary one who enjoyed a good story. He himself took delight in
what he related and his own questions, conjectures and observations
give one pleasure even to this day. It is not surprising therefore
that an English and a German translation of the work soon ap-
peared. The first was done at Hakluyt's request by P. Erondelle
who seems to have been a Huguenot pastor in London. 1 He only
translated however that portion of the work which dealt with the
settlements at Ste. Croix and Port Royal and the last book, on the
manners and customs of the savages. The translation, which was
dedicated to Prince Henry, was made " to the end that comparing
the goodnesse of the lands of the Northerly parts with Virginia,
greater encouragement might be given to prosecute that generous
and godly action." 2 The Chapters XXXI. to XLVIII. of Book II.
form the first book of the English edition, while Book III. of the
French edition forms the second. Lescarbot's name however is
nowhere given. The translation seems to be well done and the
work must have been of great interest to English readers at the time
of its appearance.
The German translation, which did not appear until 161 3, gives
only a brief summary in some eighty pages of the whole of the orig-
inal. 3 This abridgment was published by a Catholic nobleman for
the benefit of his co-religionists. 4
Shortly after the publication of his history, Lescarbot was thrown
into prison on the charge of having written a work against the Jes-
uits. 5 Whether guilty or not, he was soon released, for in the au-
1 Nova Francia or the Description of that part of New France which is one continent
with Virginia. Translated out of French into English by P. £., London, 1609. Cf.
Harrisse, Notes pour servir A V Histoire, A la Bibtiographie, etc., de la Nouvelle
France, Paris, 1872, p. 25.
2 To the Reader.
3 Marc Lescarbot, Nova Francia : Grundliche History von Erfiindung del grossen
Landschafft Nova Francia oder New Frankreich genannt. Ausz einem zu Parisz
gedructten Franzosischen Buch in Teutsch gebracht, Augsburg, 1 61 3.
'Preface. "Also hat sich ein Famemer Edler . . . leichtlich erbitten lassen,
den Catholischen zu gutem vorgemeldtes Buch in das Teutsch zubringen."
5 L'Estoile, Mhnoires-Journaux, Paris, 1881, X. 88. " Un advocat de mes amis
nomme Lescarbot en peine et en prison pour le Mastigophore de Fuzy a la suscitation,
ainsi qu'on disoit, et par la trahison d'un imprimeur nomme Langlois." Cf. also pp. 87
et seqq. The work referred to is entitled : Le Mastigophore on precurseur du Zudiaque,
688 H. P. Biggar
tumn of 1610 appeared his Conversion des Sauvages, in which he
gave an account of de Poutrincourt's return to Port Royal and of his
efforts after his arrival to convert the savages in the neighborhood. l
It was doubtless Saint-Just, who had come to France that summer
with a load of furs, who furnished Lescarbot with most of his facts. 2
In the year 161 1 Lescarbot brought out a new edition of his
history in an enlarged and corrected form. The corrections con-
sisted of a fresh dedication to the new king, Louis XIIL, and he
also placed the voyage of de la Roche in the year 1 598 instead of
1596. By means of the official statement of Carder's expenditure
communicated to him by Samuel Georges of La Rochelle, who had
been a shareholder in De Mont's company, he was also able to add
a few more facts about Roberval. 3 He also gave for the first time
Carrier's commission for his third voyage. 4 He inserted further a
new chapter on the attempt of de la Jannaye and Nouel to obtain a
monopoly of the fur trade in 1588, which had not been mentioned
in the first edition. 8 Indeed the whole work now formed six books
instead of three. Book I. is composed of the first twenty chapters of
the first edition, while Chapters XXI. to XXX. of the same make up
Book II. Chapters I. to XXX. of the old Book II. now form Book
III., while the remaining chapters of that book, Nos. XXXI. to
XLVIII., form the new Book IV., but there are no changes in the
text. These four books thus cover the ground gone over in Books
I. and II. of the first edition. He now added an account in six
chapters of Champlain's achievements in the St. Lawrence since the
year 1608 and of de Poutrincourt's return to Port Royal in 16 10
out of which he formed Book V. His account of events in the St.
Lawrence was given to him by Champlain himself, 6 while for the
Acadian portion of the Book he uses his own Conversion des Sauv-
auquel par maniere apologUique sont brisies les brides a veaux de maistre Juvain Solan-
icque pinitent repenti, seigneur de Morddreet et d' Amplademus en partie, du cote de la
moue ; traduit du latin en francois par maistre Victor Greve, geographe microcosmique,
n.p., 1609. According to Brunet the author was a certain Fusi, cure of St. Leu-et-St.
Giles at Paris, and the work was directed against one of his churchwardens.
1 La Conversion des Sauvages qui ont esti bapthh en la Nouvelle France cette annee
1610 avec un Bref Recti du Vovage du sieur de Poutrincourt, Paris, n.d.
2 Saint- Just reached France on August 21. The Jesuit Relations and Allied
Documents, Cleveland, 1896, II. 140. The privilege for printing La Conversion is dated
3 Histoire de la Nouvelle France, 1611, p. 410. " Ainsi que ie trouve par le
compte rendu desdits denieres par ledit Quartier, qui m'a este communique par le sieur
Samuel Georges Bourgeois de Rochelle." Cf. also p. 517.
4 Ibid., pp. 411-416.
5 Ibid., pp. 417-419.
6 Ibid., p. 631, " Selon que m'a recite ledit Champlain;" p. 632, " Au recit dudit
Champlain ;"' p. 663, " Ce qu'ayant entendu de la bouche dudit Charrplain," etc.
Marc Lescarbot 689
ages. Book III. of the edition of 1609, on the manners and cus-
toms of the savages, forms the new Book VI., and does not seem
to have been altered. In the volume of verses called the Muses he
has added a sonnet to Champlain, an ode in memory of Captain
Gourgues and some lines on the death of a savage in Florida who
had offered to give his life for the French.
On account of Lescarbot's not being present when the printing
of this edition was begun, several errors crept in which were cor-
rected in the edition published in 16 12. 1 The absence of the table
of errata seems indeed the only difference between these editions.
That of 161 2 was reprinted at Paris in 1866 with an introduction by
In the same year 1612 Lescarbot published his Relation Der-
niere? This is a small pamphlet of forty pages containing an ac-
count of de Poutrincourt's return to Port Royal in 1610 and of the
principal events which had taken place there since that date. Al-
though he had already given some account of these events in his
Conversion des Sauvages as well as in the fifth chapter of Book V.
of his history as published in 161 1, yet he now goes over the same
ground again, although he adds a notice of events up to June 161 1.
It was in that month indeed that de Poutrincourt had set sail for home
and it was doubtless he who recounted to Lescarbot all that is here
described. It was also no doubt at de Poutrincourt's request that
special stress was laid upon the conversion effected among the
savages for he hoped on account of this to receive some aid from
the King in his undertaking.
During the years 161 2 to 16 14 Lescarbot was in Switzerland in
the suite of Pierre de Castille the French ambassador to that republic
who was afterwards appointed intendant of finances in France. 3
During his leisure hours Lescarbot composed some verses on the
country, which however he did not publish until the year 16 18. 4
1 Les Muses, etc, , p. 66. " L'autheur n'ayant peu estre present au commencement
de l'impression, quelques fautes sont survenues en icelle," etc.
2 Relation DemUre de ce qui s'est passi au voyage du sieur de Poutrincourt en la
Nouvelle France depuis 20 mois enca, Paris, 161 2.
3 Histoire, 1617, p. 678, " du quinzieme May mille six cens treze, moy etant en
Suisse." Cf. also p. 684, "que ie receu de sa part Pan suivant mille six cens quatorze,
etant encore en Suisse."
* Le Tableau de la Suisse et autres allien de la France is hautes Allemagnes auquel
sont descrites les singularites des Alpes, el rapporths les diverses alliances des Suisses ;
particulierement celles qu'ils ont avec la France, Paris, 1618. In the dedicatory
epistle to de Castille written at the opening of the year 1614 he says that he had already
been there two years. " Ayant eu l'honneur et contentement d' avoir veu . . . depuis
deux ans enca, le sit et natural de ce pais," etc. Les Bains des Feffers on pages 48
et seqq. was published separately in 1613 at Lyons.
690 H. P. Biggar
How Lescarbot occupied his time on his return from Switzer-
land we do not know, but it was not until the year 161 7 that he
brought out a third and further enlarged edition of his history of
New France. The first four books and the last, Book VI., how-
ever, are the same as in the previous edition (except that Chapters
III. and IV. of this last are rolled into one), so that all the fresh
material is given in Book V. Indeed this book, which in the
edition of 161 1 only contained six chapters, now possesses fifteen.
Although part of this fresh material (viz., Chaps. IX. and X.) is
only a repetition of his Conversion des Sauvages and Relation Der-
niere, and other chapters (III. to VII.) are formed by subdividing
former ones (viz., old Chaps. III. and IV.), yet part of the material
at the end of this book is absolutely new. Thus in Chapters XI.
to XV. he gives for the first time an account of the disputes between
Saint-Just and the Jesuits as well as of the attempt of the latter to
form a fresh settlement at St. Sauveur and of their capture by
Argall. Part of this he obtained from the Factum 1 and from Biard's
Relation 2 which had appeared in the previous year, while he also
makes use of some letters sent to him from Port Royal in 1614. 3
Furthermore he prints a proces-verbal drawn up at La Rochelle in
July 1614. 4 The account of Champlain's operations in the St.
Lawrence, begun in the edition of 161 1, is continued and in much
greater detail. These dates and other matters now given for the
first time are taken from the volume published by Champlain in
the year 161 3.* Some of the facts relating to Champlain's voyage
up the Ottawa in the summer of 16 13 had however been given to
Lescarbot by a Norman friend. 6 Further than the year 16 13 he
does not go for events in the St. Lawrence.
Les Muses de la Nouvelle France, dated 161 8, contains no
1 Histoire, 1617, p. 677, " laquelle est couchee tout au long au Factum du sieur de
Poutrincourt," etc. Cf. also p. 678. This factum appeared in the year 1614 under the
title Factum du Prods entre Jean de Biencourt chevalier Sieur de Poutrincourt Baron
de S. Just appelant d'une part et Pierre Biard, Evemond Masse et Consorts soy disans
Prestres de la SociltS de Jisus, intimex.
2 Ibid., p. 676. "Le meme pere Biart passe sous silence sept mois de temps," etc.
Cf. p. 668, "car le Pere Biart n'en fait aucune mention," etc. Biard's Relation was
published at Lyons in 1616 under the title Relation de la Nouvelle France, de ses terres,
naturel du pays et de ses habitants, item du voyage des Pires Jesuites ausdites contrees
et de ce qu'ils y ont fait jusques a kur prise par les Anglais.
3 Ibid., pp. 678-679, 684-685.
* Ibid., pp. 687-690.
5 Ibid., pp. 615-616, "Champlain racontant ce fait;" p. 619, "a ce que dit
Champlein." Cf. also pp. 620, 634, 647.
6 Ibid., p. 647. " Les particularites de ce dernier voyage m'ayans ete recitees par
un Gentil-homme Norman . . . ie les ay depuis trouvees verifiees par la relation qu'en
a fait trop au long ledtt Champlein," etc.
Marc Lescarbot 691
changes from the edition published in 161 1. Editions also of the
History dated 16 18 only differ from the edition of 1617 in the cor-
rection of the errata and the consequent absence of this leaf.
In the same year 161 8, in which also appeared his Tableau de
la Suisse mentioned above, Lescarbot published a small pam-
phlet on the fall of Concini from power. 1 After congratulating Louis
XIII. on his courage in getting rid of such a pest, 2 he urges him
to put an end to the Turkish empire 3 and to subdue the peoples of
New France. *
After Lescarbot' s marriage, which took place in the following
year, doubtless as a result of his appointment to the post of naval
commissioner, 5 we hear nothing more of him until the year 1629,
when he published a small volume of verse on the defeat of the
English at La Rochelle. 6 On the title-page he calls himself " Marc
Lescarbot Esquire Seigneur de Wiencourt et de Sainct Audebert."
This title he inherited though his wife Francoise de Valpergue
though in what year we do not know. 7 This is the last production
from Lescarbot's pen but the date of his death is not yet known.
Such then are the life and works of the first historian of New
France. In contrast with the aridity of the Jesuit Relations and
with the prolific geographical details given by Champlain, Lescar-
bot's bright and pleasant manner of recounting his adventures in the
New World give even the reader of the present day a keen pleas-
ure. His original way of looking at things, his poetical vein and
above all the continual good humor which bubbles out all through
his work, leave upon one the impression of a jovial companion and
an intelligent conversationalist. Possessed of the true philosophic
spirit he was as happy at Port Royal cultivating his garden and
1 Le Franc Gaulois au Roy, Sur le Repos de la France, Paris, 1618. Another copy
is entitled Le Bout de P An Sur le Repos de la France, etc. Copies of these are pre
served at the Bibliotheque Nationale, L. b 36 1118 and 1119. Lescarbot had also signed
the dedication of the Tableau de la Suisse to the king, "le Franc Gaulois." This
pamphlet itself however is signed " Marc Lescarbot."
t Ibid., pp. 3-4, " Toutes nations s'estonnoient de voir maistriser dan vostre Louvre
un faquin ... II s'etoit a vos depens asservi voz villes . . . il disposoit de la paix et
de la guerre. II gouvernoit vos finances et vos armees et nous faisoit egorger les uns les
3 Ibid., p. 12. "II faut miner 1' Empire de Mahomet."
*Ibid., " II faut Sire gaigner a Dieu et a votre Majesty les peuples transmarins de
l'Occident." Cf. also p. 15.
5 Annates de Voyages, Paris, 1869, I. 76-81.
6 La Chasse aux Angtois en Vile de Rez et au siege de la Rochelle et la reduction de
ladite ville a Fobeissance du Roy, Paris, 1629.
' Ibid., Au Roy. " La revolution et conduite de ma vie m'ayant amene a estre heri-
tier des services que les Sieurs de Valpergue ont depuis deux cens ans et au dessus rendu
a vostre Majeste," etc.
692 H. P. Biggar
spending the evening with his books as he had been formerly at the
gay court of the French capital. That such a man should have
left to us his impressions of a voyage to Acadia in the beginning of
the seventeenth century and of his life there during some thirteen
months must ever be a matter of satisfaction to those who wish to
read in any detail the early history of New France.
H. P. Biggar.